Archers can enjoy an ethical and successful hunt with these tips
Archers will hit the woods this month in hopes of scoring close encounters with white-tailed deer.
Sealing the deal with stick and string is a game of inches, and bowhunters need to do everything in their power to make things go right in situations where so many things could go wrong. We owe it to ourselves and the animals that we pursue to adhere to the following tips before sending any arrows in their direction.
Practice often – it is our ethical duty
It’s our responsibility as hunters to make ethical shots on our quarry. This is an impossible feat if hunters don’t put in the proper amount of time ensuring accuracy has become second nature when it comes to shooting a bow and arrow.
Bowhunters shouldn’t enter a blind or stand this season until they have become extremely comfortable with their bow and understand their limitations as far as shooting distances are concerned. Even when the apparatus begins to feel like an extension of the arms and hand, practice sessions should not cease.
Repetitious practice between hunts is a good way to preserve muscle memory, no matter how seasoned your archery skills are. Shooting drills can become even more valuable when they’re performed wearing the same gear that will be worn during a hunt, such as jackets, gloves and a face mask. If you’re going to hunt with it on you should practice with it on. The more realistic practice sessions become, the more likely that success will be achieved when a shot opportunity presents itself.
Recognize that shot placement is everything
A white tail’s life is ethically taken when a broadhead on the end of an arrow pierces its vitals, causing fatal amounts of blood loss. For this to occur, an arrow must pass through the lower chest cavity of a deer where the heart and lungs are. The most lethal and ethical shot on a white-tailed deer is one that results in the arrow cutting through both lungs, the heart, or a combination of the two.
Bowhunters should always understand where the vitals on a deer are in association to its position or orientation in relation to them. Then, the angle of the shot and the angle at which the arrow will enter and pass through the animal’s body should also be considered.
A broadside or quartering away shot offers the largest probability for ethical shot placement to occur, as the vitals are widely exposed when a whitetail is positioned this way in relation to a hunter. Hunters shouldn’t take head-on shots or shots with the animal quartering toward them. These are high-risk scenarios that should be avoided at all costs. It’s much easier to cope with watching a trophy walk away rather than wounding one, only to never recover it. Being able to make quick decisions about shot placement is an absolute necessity.
3-D targets provide hunters with a fun way to practice making the correct shot placement at different distances and angles, and having an expensive deer target is not necessary for these types of drills to be effective. A smaller hog target or a target mimicking any other four-legged animal will work.
Each time a shot is made, the angle the arrow takes through the body of the animal, in regards to how it was oriented in relation to the shooter, will be revealed. The target’s position can be modified between shots so hunters can get a firm grasp on where they should aim as the animal moves.
Take note of the wind
Bowhunters should only occupy a stand or blind when the wind is blowing head on or across their bodies from a direction that won’t carry their scent into an area from which the deer typically travel. Don’t hunt a setup in which the wind is blowing at your back into the area you’re overlooking, and always try to keep the wind in your face when walking into any hunting location.
Prep your clothes
Treat your hunting garments with a scent-eliminating and scent-free detergent, and then hang them outside in a tree or among other vegetation to air dry. Spray your boots down with scent-eliminating spray before walking into the woods and try to become as scent-free as possible.
Be cognizant of time
Enter the stand or blind early. This will provide plenty of time for the disturbances you create when trekking through the woods to subside. Waking up earlier for a morning sit or spending an extra hour in the afternoon heat can seem like an arduous task, but it can definitely be worth it.
Enjoy the encounter
There’s something to be said about getting extremely close to white-tailed deer without them sensing your presence that produces some heart-pounding experiences. Turn off your cell phone, absorb the moment, and whether you let an arrow fly or not, take in the close encounter. This is what we live for. It’s time to take a stand.